The Pain of Self Promotion

Photo by Norman Toth

I’m part of a large club of writers who hates to market ourselves. We can go into the whole “introvert” thing, blah, blah, blah.

But, it’s true. Just leave me alone with my computer and let me do my job. I’m good at it and love what I do, which is write. And write. And research and write some more.

However, I’ve learned that unless someone knows me, the world is not coming to my door, at least not without some self-promotion on my part.
So, about six months ago I got myself together and went to a local networking event. I had my business cards and practiced an elevator speech about who I am and what I do.

It was enormously painful. And, until the end of the event, I thought a dismal failure.

That was until I a young man said, “Hi, what brings you here?”

Huh? It took me a minute to respond, but he just stood there waiting for my answer. Wow, was I impressed. So, I told him, “I’m a freelance writer. I write primarily about technology but I also write about a variety of topics as a generalist as I was a newspaper reporter for a while.”

It was amazing. He immediately found a commonality with his industry and invited me to be a guest at his networking group that meets twice a month in the morning.

He had this gig down.

So, I went to his group meeting and instantly felt like a serious businesswoman. While I had to put on a professional face and introduce myself, I managed but it was not my favorite thing. Yet, I know it is necessary to build a business. You have to put yourself out there. It’s not news.

The freelance writing field is flush with writers and many are very good. It’s a competitive field. To help us poor feckless freelancers compete, the advice industry is flooded with experts. Just look up the phrase “freelance writing” and Google will supply pages and pages of advice on how “You too can earn six figures a month by just following my simple advice… for a fee.”

If it were that easy, I wouldn’t need to market myself. Right? I could just stay at home in front of my computer and hundreds of jobs would just roll in by just doing the few simple things offered by the many people online telling me how I can triple my income and write laying on the beach in my flip-flops.

Seriously?

Getting back to being an introvert and avoiding the whole self-promotion gig, I wish it were as easy as the online gurus would have me believe.
So, OK, Geri, what is your point?

Ultimately, I joined this little networking group and I’m learning a lot from them. Unlike the huge networking bashes, this is a smallish group and I’ve gotten to know each member. They are patient with me and I’m learning how to find out more about other people before I spout my pitch.
I’ve found the smaller, more intimate group is a comfortable space for me and a better environment for someone who has failed at the high-pitched sales environment.

What I like about belonging to a specific group is that I can schedule my marketing for the specific meetings and go back into my shell the rest of the time.

Best of all, it’s working and so am I.

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